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    It's All About Solar. Loadshedding. Solar Panels. Inverters. Batteries. Interesting Articles.

    Jul 2, 2023 | Solar

    Solar Panels – Types, Sizes & How It Works?

    Solar

    Load Shedding – What are your options?

    Today we will delve into the world of solar panels,

    the essential components that have revolutionized the solar industry. Our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of solar panels, including their working principles, different types, and appropriate sizing for your solar array.

    How Do Solar Panels Work?

    Solar panels are composed of individual cells that convert sunlight into electricity. When sunlight, in the form of photons, interacts with these cells, they generate a small electric charge.

    Although the charge produced by a single cell may seem negligible, multiple cells within a panel work together to generate a larger charge.

    Combining multiple panels can generate a significant amount of energy. The cells themselves are made of silicon, which is melted together to form the surface of the panel.

    To make them more lightweight, solar panels are encased in an aluminium frame. On the back of each panel, there are positive and negative wires with MC4 clips for easy connectivity and array formation.

    Mounting Solar Panels

    Solar panels are typically mounted on rooftops using brackets. These brackets can be installed on various roof types, including tiles, inverted box rib (IBR) roofs, flat roofs, and corrugated roofs.

    However, it is important to note that thatched roofs are not suitable for mounting solar panels due to their flammability and legal restrictions.

    Solar Panels and Inverters

    Solar panels generate direct current (DC) energy, which needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) for use in homes.

    This conversion is achieved using an inverter. The primary function of the inverter is to convert the DC energy produced by the solar array into usable AC energy.

    Different Types of Solar Panels

    Solar panels come in various types, including foldable, thin-film, bifacial, and more. In this article, we will focus on the two most common types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.

     

     

      Monocrystalline Solar Panels

      Monocrystalline panels are known for their high efficiency and superior performance. These panels are made by cutting a single crystalline silicon ingot, resulting in a distinctive shape.

      The manufacturing process for monocrystalline panels is relatively wasteful as the corners of the silicon ingot are discarded.

      Monocrystalline panels perform better in high-temperature and low-light conditions, making them an excellent choice for optimal energy production.

      They also come in black, which many find aesthetically pleasing. However, monocrystalline panels are slightly more expensive compared to other types.

      Polycrystalline Solar Panels

      Polycrystalline panels are easily recognizable by their iconic blue colour. These panels are manufactured by moulding together multiple silicon fragments.

      While polycrystalline panels are less efficient than monocrystalline ones, they are more cost-effective. The manufacturing process of polycrystalline panels introduces imperfections, resulting in visible variations in the blue coloration.

      It is important to note that despite their lower efficiency, polycrystalline panels still offer a reliable and affordable option for solar energy generation.

      Sizing Your Solar Array

      The size of your solar panels is influenced by the available roof space and your energy requirements.

      Panel sizes have been increasing over the years, with larger and more powerful panels becoming available.

      The size of your array is also limited by the capacity of your inverter, known as the maximum photovoltaic input (PV) input. This value, specified in watts, can be found in the inverter’s datasheet.

      To determine the number of panels your system can accommodate, divide the maximum PV input by the size of the panels. Keep in mind that proper sizing of your solar array is crucial for optimal energy production.

      Buying Solar Panels

      The cost of solar panels has been steadily decreasing, making solar energy more accessible than ever before.

      As the world moves towards embracing green energy solutions, the trend of larger and more affordable panels is expected to continue.

      When purchasing panels, it is advisable to consider maximizing the capacity of your chosen inverter. This ensures that you can fully utilize the potential of your solar panels, even if the same model is unavailable in the future.

      Alternatively, you can opt for an inverter with multiple maximum power point trackers (MPPTs), such as a hybrid inverter, which allows you to connect panels of different sizes to different MPPTs.

      Professional Installation

      While connecting solar panels and setting up an array might seem straightforward, it is highly recommended to seek professional assistance for the installation process.

      Professionals possess the necessary expertise and knowledge to ensure that your solar system is safely and correctly installed, optimizing its performance and lifespan.

      Solar panels are an integral part of any solar energy system,

      enabling the conversion of sunlight into usable electricity. By understanding the basics, you can make informed decisions when selecting and installing solar panels for your home or business.

      As solar energy continues to gain momentum as a sustainable and cost-effective power source, harnessing its potential through the use of solar panels offers numerous benefits for both the environment and your energy needs.

      So, embark on your solar journey with confidence and enjoy the advantages of clean, renewable energy.

      *Note
      The information provided in this article serves as a general guide. It is advisable to consult professionals and refer to manufacturer specifications for specific recommendations and requirements regarding solar panels and their installation.

      Until next time, keep safe and make informed solar panel decisions!  

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